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DHB Budget Blowouts Threaten Patient Safety

4 March 2004

DHB Budget Blowouts Threaten Patient Safety

“The public needs to know that recent threats from DHBs about budget crackdowns mean threats to patient safety,” said Geoff Annals, CEO of the Nurses Organisation today.

Christchurch Hospital management is considering closing wards and not replacing staff in response to a budget blowout.

“Budget problems reported by the Capital Coast and now Canterbury District Health Board highlight the fact that DHBs are not funded either to pay nurses properly or to ensure safe staffing levels,” said Geoff Annals.

“When nurse numbers are cut patient safety is threatened.”

The Nurses Organisation will launch a national public petition on Monday, International Women’s Day, calling on Parliament to ensure DHBs are adequately funded to pay nurses and midwives fairly and to ensure safe staffing levels.

Canterbury DHB has reported a budget blow-out in staff wages after a January surge in admissions.

“More patients than expected needed nursing care and nurses responded by working the hours needed to keep their patients safe and those hours were paid for,” he said.

“This is what the public expects of their hospitals, not a knee jerk reduction of nurses.”

Geoff Annals said the budget blowouts highlight the fact that the Government is underfunding DHBs to pay nursing staff what they are worth and to ensure there are adequate numbers of nurses for the safe care of patients.

ENDS

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